Book: The Salarian Desert Game By J. A. McLachlan
Genre: Young Adult
Publication date: April 11, 2016
Print publication dates: August in Canada; September in the US
Source: From the author — I’m on the launch team
Summary: The Salarian Desert Game is the second installment of the story of young interpreter Kia and her language-challenged client, Agatha, a diplomat. The first book, The Occasional Diamond Thief, introduced us to a multi-planetary society where differences in geography and history produced a variety of cultures.
This time, Kia and Agatha are off to a desert planet with important mineral resources. Their official business is rather murky, but Kia’s secret reason to take on this mission is very concrete — to rescue her sister from deadly work in the mines. Kia’s cover puts her squarely on the board of a dangerous coming-of-age ritual, a game waged by 15-year-old girls.
Thoughts: As in The Occasional Diamond Thief, the world-building of The Salarian Desert Game provides a mesmerizing background to Kia’s story. Kia’s circle expands to an entire cohort of teenagers, each with their own reasons for helping or hindering Kia’s goals. I was fascinated by the female friendships that form the foundation of all political and economic function on Salaria — friendships that are rooted in the Desert Game.
Appeal: The Salarian Desert Game will appeal to girls who are living through the perilous process of developing teenage friendships and adults who want to re-live that time — or get a do-over.
My teenage relationships remain the model for friendship in my life, but, besides one notable and recently-revived exception, the actual people are shadows on Facebook, if that much. Did your high school friendships survive into adulthood?